CMLS Attorney to be Honored at MJF’s Annual Awards Celebration November 7

 Elizabeth F. Sauer

Elizabeth F. Sauer

This Wednesday, November 7, marks Minnesota Justice Foundation’s Annual Awards Celebration. Every year since 1991, MJF has honored the work of public interest attorneys, private pro bono attorneys, advocates, and law students whose commitment to service shines as a beacon of hope and embodies the very best of our profession.

This year, MJF’s award for Outstanding Service by a Direct Legal Services provider will go to Elizabeth F. Sauer, supervising attorney at Central Minnesota Regional Legal Services (CMLS).

Sauer has been the housing supervising attorney at CMLS since May 2017, with over seven years of prior service as a staff attorney. While she focuses on housing law, her caseload also includes family law cases, predominantly Orders for Protection. Her advocacy skills and legal knowledge exceed expectations for her seniority at CMLS, and she handles hundreds of housing cases on an annual basis. Countless tenants in Hennepin and Anoka counties have avoided homelessness because of Sauer’s outstanding advocacy.

Sauer has become an expert in subsidized housing law, and CMLS attorneys who have cases involving vouchers, as well as attorneys from other legal aid programs, regularly consult with her on their own cases. She mentors CMLS attorneys in all the program’s offices, and provides counsel to other attorneys in Minnesota, thereby improving advocacy for clients statewide.

Sauer has represented over a thousand clients during her career, and through her mentoring of others, has impacted hundreds more cases. She is always on the look-out for new ways to apply the law to ensure that clients remain housed, and that their housing is in good repair.  Her work recognizes the essential role that housing plays in a client’s success in all areas of life. 

MJF’s 2018 award winners also include Timothy McLarnan of McLarnan & Skatvold – Moorhead, recipient of the Private Practice Award; Imani Jaafar of the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights, recipient of the Advocate Award; and law students Royzetta Evans of Mitchell Hamline School of Law, Dr. Susan Craig, M. D. of the University of Minnesota Law School, and Jonathan Snyder of the University of St. Thomas School of Law.

There’s still time to get a ticket to the Annual Awards Celebration. Click here for more information and to reserve your ticket.

Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid Helps Ensure Immigrants’ Rights

MMLA logo Small.jpg

Starting this month, immigrant community members will be reminded of their rights in all Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) squad cars. Thanks to the hard work and effective advocacy of attorneys at Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid, printed placards explaining an immigrant’s right to remain silent about their place of birth, and immigration status, along with other applicable rights, have been placed on the back seat of MPD squads in both English and Spanish. Staff attorneys Alison Olson Cox and Laura Wilson worked closely with the Minneapolis City Attorney’s Office on the placard language. Cox was also a strong advocate for the city to take ownership of the placard and the recitation of immigrant rights. 

Read more about the placards in the Star Tribune.

Minnesota Celebrates National Pro Bono Week

October 21 – 27, 2018, marks National Pro Bono Week —the American Bar Association’s annual celebration in recognition of the efforts of current pro bono volunteers, and its hopes for increased support and collaboration. Pro bono plays a vital role in closing the justice gap by helping to increase the number of low-income individuals who can get legal advice at crucial moments.

Locally, pro bono “hubs” are being hosted by several corporate legal offices where volunteer attorneys will gather to answer questions on the Minnesota Legal Advice Online (MLAO) platform. MLAO’s web-based format helps eliminate the geographic and time barriers often faced when seeking legal assistance. Clients who live in remote areas, lack reliable transportation, or work night shifts can access legal clinic-style services that would otherwise be unavailable. Lawyers can respond to questions from clients anywhere in Minnesota, from wherever the lawyer is located.

On October 24th, join the Volunteer Lawyers Network (VLN) for its Pro Bono Week Happy Hour at Lakes and Legends Brewing Co. in Minneapolis. The event will celebrate the volunteers, donors and staff that make pro bono happen in Minnesota. Visit the ProJusticeMN calendar for more information and other happenings during Pro Bono Week.

Want a Training? Co-Sponsorship Model Offers More Options

achievement-adult-aerial-1122403.jpg

State Support has a strong history of planning and hosting our own statewide training events in collaboration with partners in the access to justice community. In the past year, we've expanded that foundational work with an exciting, additional form of collaboration: our new co-sponsorship model.

One of State Support’s strengths is leveraging technology across Minnesota, and we prioritize collaboration requests that extend a training’s reach across the state's civil legal services and pro bono communities. With our new co-sponsorship model, State Support hopes to collaborate with programs that may already be planning an event, and thereby expand its impact to reach other legal services programs. The topic you’ve identified as important to your program staff is likely something of interest to the broader community, and by working together we can utilize our expertise to help bring the training to a statewide audience.

State Support is still available for collaboration following our “traditional model,” in which you contact State Support with a training suggestion, you help us refine the topic and brainstorm speakers, and then we take it from there. Whether following our traditional model or our new co-sponsorship model, State Support’s success in offering the most meaningful and relevant trainings depends on hearing from the community about training topics you are interested in and trainers you would recommend. As always, State Support's training offerings focus on civil legal topics and skills development targeted towards legal services staff and volunteers.

The best way to let us know what trainings you’d like to see — or work with us on — is by completing our training suggestions form, which gathers all the relevant information so we can move forward faster: goo.gl/forms/KAPkAACCHs2UClK62.